CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka
A GROUP of journalists from Africa had a full feel of traditional Chinese hospitality when they were treated to indigenous music by a minority ethnic group in Xijiang township of Guizhou Province.
The 16 journalists from seven African countries including Zambia were travelling from Leishan County where they interacted with the Miao tribe and witnessed local people doing hand embroidery.
On their way back to Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou, the journalists who were accompanied by members of staff from the Peopleâ€™s Daily newspaper and tour guides, made a stopover at the rural community for supper.
The township is the centre of Xijiang Miao Villages consisting of eight natural villages consisting of a maze of two to four storey stilted wooden houses, stores, bars and restaurants on both sides of a river, which passes in the middle.
Because it was in the evening the whole place was covered in neon lighting in assorted hues and colours. Chinese and foreign tourists were milling all over the place â€“ in bars, artifact stores, restaurants and theatres.
Apparently, the owners of the restaurant where the journalists were taken for their meals were expecting special visitors and had organised a group of traditional singers to welcome them.
The journalists were surprised to find women and men dressed in glittering traditional Chinese embroidery lining up on both sides of the entrance to the restaurant.
As the journalists disembarked from two luxury tourist micro-buses the singers broke into song and dance, some of them blowing the traditional saxophones made of bamboos and cow horns.
Some of the journalists joined in the dancing and made a go at the funny looking saxos, but they needed the help of the musicians to produce the sound.
While inside those journalists who had from Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa were delighted to find a lot of food similar to what they eat home.
There were boiled groundnuts, sweet potatoes, boiled rice, maize, cabbage, rape and many others unlike many other places where they had to struggle to find food â€˜acceptableâ€™ to them.
You need lot of patience to get used to Chinese food.
As the hungry scribes wolfed down the delicacies the singers were serenading them with indigenous rhythms outside.
The music was not very different from what you are likely to hear from a typical black African village.
CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka